Dutch model's fatal fall an accident, not a crime: Malaysian court

The death of Dutch model Ivana Smit in Malaysia was not a crime, the so-called Coroner's Court in Kuala Kumpur concluded on Friday morning, local time. Her family said that they will appeal against this ruling, but at this stage there will be no criminal trial about the young woman's death, the family's lawyer Sebas Diekstra confirmed to NU.nl.

The 18-year-old woman's naked body was found on a 6th floor balcony of an apartment building in Kuala Lumpur in December 2017. Smit had fallen from the 20th floor apartment of American couple Alexander and Luna Johnson after a night spent partying with the couple. Smit's relatives are convinced the couple had something to do with her death.

Over the past months the Coroner's Court spoke to multiple witnesses, to determine whether a new investigation should be launched into the young model's death. Alexander and Luna Johnson did not respond when they were called as witnesses.

"The judge had considered that, in view of a number of indications, there could be a crime, but that it is no longer possible to determine exactly what had happened between Ivana and the couple", Diekstra said to the newspaper. 

According to Dutch forensic pathologist Frank van de Groot, who performed a second autopsy on Smit's body, many mistakes were made in the investigation. For example, the Malaysian authorities did not measure Smit's temperature at the location where she was found. "That made a world of difference for the investigation into whether or not she was alive at the time of the fall", Van de Groot previously said to NU.nl.

Diekstra is also dissatisfied with the approach of the Malaysian police. For example, the American couple's apartment was cleaned before the trace evidence investigation was done. And one police officer said that the case was not treated as a murder, though the officer believes it should have been.

The Dutch Public Prosecutor is currently exploring whether an official investigation into Smit's death should be launched from the Netherlands. 

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